Friday, January 17, 2020
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Trump orders the building of a border wall

President Donald Trump today announced his executive orders to build a wall along the southern border of the US, as he repeatedly promised in his campaign, and take other steps he hopes will help to keep all citizens safe and secure, the New York Times reports.

Before signing the orders, the president recognized that safety and security were not political issues and had no ties to either Republicans or Democrats.

He says the wall will cost $8 billion, but other estimates put the cost somewhere around $14 billion. The executive order doesn’t say where the country will get the money to build the wall, but in an interview with ABC News, the president said Mexico would eventually reimburse the US for the cost of building the wall in one way or another.

Here’s part of what President Trump said today:

Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders. The secretary of homeland security, working with myself and my staff, will begin immediate construction of a border wall. …

We are going to get the bad ones out—the criminals and the drug dealers and gangs and gang members and cartel leaders. The day is over when they can stay in our country and wreak havoc. …

Our order also does the following: ends the policy of “catch and release” at the border; requires other countries to take back their criminals (they will take them back); cracks down on “sanctuary” cities; empowers [US Immigration and Customs Enforcement] officers to target and remove those who pose a threat to public safety; calls for the hiring of another 5,000 border patrol officers; calls for … tripling the number of ICE officers; creates an office of homeland security dedicated to supporting the victims of illegal immigrant crime. …

We will save thousands and thousands of lives. … We want safe communities, and we demand safe communities for everyone. We want respect. We want great schools. We want dignity and equality for everyone. And I will be, I promise you, a president for everyone.

One of Mr Trump’s executive orders will strip federal funding from jurisdictions that have declared themselves sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. The order drew both praise and alarm in Maryland.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the order likely sets up a showdown between the Trump administration and local governments because seven Maryland colleges have declared themselves sanctuary campuses.

“We don’t walk around asking people where they’re from,” the Sun quoted Mayor Catherine Pugh of Baltimore as saying. “That’s just not our policy. We don’t do that. What we want is to help people become productive members of our community. We’re a welcoming city. We want everybody here. We want to provide opportunities and jobs and careers for folks.”

College students across America, many of whom are immigrants and sometimes undocumented, reacted to the executive orders as well.

“I personally understand how much [President Trump and Vice President Pence] care about the US and the safety of their citizens, and that it’s the first thing they’ve got to watch out for,” the Chronicle of Higher Education quoted Hassan Taki Eddin, an Indiana college student from Damascus, Syria, as saying.

“I do respect that,” he said. “But at the same time, I would just tell them to take their time and try to actually look at the issue at its core, and to see what’s the actual solution to it, not just something people would support. It’s not about how fast we can get something out to look good; it’s about how can we really solve the problem. I do personally agree there is a problem, but I don’t agree on the method to get there.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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